When Donald Trump spoke before the Republican National Convention this past July, he swore that “as your president, I will do everything in my power to protect LGBTQ citizens.”
Now, as president, Trump appears poised to use his power to do the opposite, and essentially sanction discrimination against the LGBTQ community
According to two senior administration officials who spoke with Politico, Trump is reportedly set to sign an executive order on “religious liberty,” allowing groups, individuals, and businesses to refuse to provide goods and services to people on religious grounds. Such measures have widely been viewed as thinly veiled attacks on LGBTQ rights.
The order’s signing would reportedly come on Thursday, to coincide with the National Day of Prayer.
The news comes nearly three months after the Trump administration’s first stab at an anti-LGBTQ order, a draft of which leaked to the press in early February and whose extremism shocked people. That order was abandoned after Ivanka Trump and husband Jarred Kushner allegedly worked to scuttle the effort. Following that attempt, Politico reported, a cadre of administration officials lead by Vice President Mike Pence began working on a revised draft of the order—one which Politico’s source suggested will not be substantively different from its predecessor.
“The language is very, very strong,” the source said.
Pence’s own history with discriminatory religious freedom legislation should provide a cautionary tale for the administration. While governor of Indiana, Pence signed into law a statewide religious freedom bill, prompting a swift and severe blowback among LGBTQ rights groups and allies, at least $60 million in lost tourism revenue in Indianapolis, and an excruciatingly awkward gubernatorial press conference. That law was eventually amended to include additional protections for LGBTQ people.
Responding to reports that the Trump administration may roll out its anti-LGBTQ order this week, the American Civil Liberties Union promised it is “ready to sue if [the White House does] something that authorizes discrimination.”